Scientology-inspired 'The Master' casts spell at Venice fest

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Scientology-inspired 'The Master' casts spell at Venice fest

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Scientology-inspired 'The Master' casts spell at Venice fest

by AFP Videos 3:08 mins

Scientology-inspired 'The Master' casts spell at Venice fest

by AFP Videos 3:08 mins

SHOTLIST:VENICE, ITALy, SEPTEMBER 1, 2012, SOURCE: AFPTVSOUNDBITE 1 Paul Thomas Anderson (man) Director, "The Master" (English, 22 sec):"There's a character I created based on L. Ron Hubbard, there are a lot of similarities with the early days of dianetics. I don't really know a whole hell of a lot about Scientology particularly now. But I do know a lot about the beginning of that movement. And it inspired me to use it as a backdrop for these characters"SOUNDBITE 2 Paul Thomas Anderson (man) Director, "The Master" (English, 14 sec):"The story could probably take place anywhere, I think it helps it takes place in America. It seems to add up for me. Umm. I think it is specific to America. Yeah."SOUNDBITE 3 Philip Seymour Hoffman (man) Actor (English, 30 sec):"There's a mentor, there's a follower, you know, and somebody changes your life, somebody affects you, and that person becomes special. And then the person you affect or teach eventually leaves you, and the person hurt the most is the master. That kind of idea you know, that's breaking it down into its most basic terms, that's kind of boring, but that's how I look at it in a way. So I don't see it, I don't personally see it as any sociological aspect of America or anything like that."SOUNDBITE 4 Philip Seymour Hoffman (man) Actor (English, 28 sec):"I think that's what's basically life is. I think that's why we wake up every morning going 'Fuck, why can't I just run naked to the streets of Venice, and just eat and shit. You know. Why can't I just do that and that'd be OK, you know? Is it possible that I could just have sex with everyone I see today? No, I can't, but I wish that was possible. So I think I'm really gonna find my master and he will teach me not to do that. [laughter]"1min 28secs of images showing:- Paul Thomas Anderson, director of "The Master" and actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix arrive for the press conference- various cutaway shots of the press conference- various of Paul Thomas Anderson, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix- Joaquin Phoenix smokes- Joaquin Phoenix leaves the room and comes back- various of the press conference room///_______________________________AFP text story:Entertainment-Italy-film-festival-Anderson,lead Scientology-inspired 'The Master' casts spell at Venice fest by Dario Thuburn =(PICTURE+VIDEO)= ATTENTION - ADDS quotes, video and photo tags, byline /// VENICE, Italy, Sept 1, 2012 (AFP) - The film "The Master" cast a spell on viewers at the Venice festival on Saturday with Philip Seymour Hoffman playing a charismatic leader loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Hoffman's character takes a troubled World War II vet played by a feral Joaquin Phoenix under his wing in this latest work by Oscar-winner Paul Thomas Anderson, director of "Boogie Nights" and "There Will Be Blood." The film starts with Phoenix as Freddie Quell and his rapid descent into alcoholism and mental illness after the end of the war. He is rescued by Hoffman's Lancaster Dodd, who vows to treat him as "my guinea pig and protege". Although there are no explicit references to Scientology in the film, there are strong parallels between that belief system and Dodd's "The Cause". "There's a lot of similarities to the early days of dianetics," Anderson said after the showing of the film, referring to a set of ideas and practices followed by Scientologists. "The beginning of that movement inspired me," added Anderson. He said he had shown the film to leading Scientologist Tom Cruise, adding: "We are still friends. Yes I showed him the film and the rest is between us." But Anderson said the centrepiece of the film, which is shot with a 70mm camera which gives it an epic feel, was the bond between Quell and Dodd. "I think we're just trying to tell a love story about these guys," he said. It is also significant that it is set in the post-war era when there was "a tremendous amount of hope but a lot of bodies in the background," he said. Anderson added that he was surprised when Phoenix, who said virtually nothing and smoked during a press conference in Venice, took the part. "I asked him to be in every other movie I made but he said no which is a bit of pain in the ass. But this time he said yes," he said. With its portrayal of the repetitive "processing" mental exercises employed by Dodd and his followers in the 1940s and 1950s, the film itself acquires a hypnotic quality underscored by Dodd's passionate pseudo-scientific assertions. The discordant string music by musician and composer Jonny Greenwood -- best known as a member of the British rock band Radiohead -- and the minutely-studied period set details add value to this impressive work. Quell and Dodd could not be more different personalities, even though Dodd is also sometimes quick to anger when his movement is called into question. In one particularly memorable scene they are both taken to a Philadelphia jail where a wild-eyed Quell proceeds to trash his cell and throw himself against the bars as a suited Dodd watches him calmly from the next cell. But their relationship develops into a powerful bond and Quell becomes a faithful acolyte although he still struggles with his inner demons. Cult leader or not, Dodd is genuinely concerned by Quell's fate and wants to help him attain "a state of perfect" instead of being "a silly animal". "I think they identify with each other," Hoffman told reporters. "They're coming from different places but I think they were born the same thing. They're both wild beasts. One of them has just tamed it and he's trying to teach other people to do that," he said. The film, however, ends with a separation between the two as Dodd's movement gains in magnitude, leaving audiences guessing as to Quell's future. "The Master" is being distributed by the Weinstein Company and is scheduled for release later this month in the United States and Canada. dt/ide/hmn

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